Sadly, whenever Apple is about to launch a new product, we tend to hear about violations of workers’ rights in Apple’s supply chain. It makes sense. A lot of companies bid against each other for Apple’s business in Asia, then don’t have the money to hire enough workers to fulfill Apple’s huge orders. The result? They force the workers they have to do more work over longer hours for less pay. It’s scummy, but as long as Apple isn’t operating every aspect of its manufacturing itself, it’s probably unavoidable.
This year’s no different. According to the China Labor Watch, employees at a Chinese factory owned by Florida-based Jabil Circuit which is reportedly making Apple’s iPhone 5C are being given inadequate training, and being forced to work long hours without overtime.
Apple’s under fire again for labor abuses by one of its manufacturing partners again, this time Pegatron. Bizarrely, though, the report incriminating them also confirms the plastic “budget” iPhone, the so-called iPhone 5C.
Foxconn says it will fire the employees responsible for hiring underage workers.
Foxconn has admitted to finding underage interns as young as 14 working in one of its Chinese plants, where the minimum legal working age is 16. The company, which assembles Apple’s hugely popular iOS devices, has sent all underage workers back to their schools, and it’s now investigating how they were ended up at its plant.
In a four-month investigation of 10 of Apple’s Chinese suppliers, China Labor Watch has found what they call “deplorable” working conditions in many of the factories of Apple’s component manufacturers. These factories allegedly contain hazardous working conditions and excessive overtime.
Apple is doing a better job auditing its suppliers than it’s competitors, says a China labor activist.
Labor activist Qiang Li says Apple is doing a much better job of monitoring factory conditions than Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia and many others.
“I compared Apple with other cell phone companies, such as Nokia. And the conditions in those factories are worse than the ones of Apple,” he said.
However, Li says that conditions in the supply chain are not the responsibility of the suppliers themselves or the Chinese government. Apple ultimately bears responsibility, and the company should spend some of its record profits in improving conditions.
1,000 workers at a Jingmo Electronics factory in Shenzhen, China, staged a strike earlier this week over long hours and poor working conditions. The factory supplies keyboards to companies like IBM, LG, and Apple, and China Labor Watch is now calling for these companies to improve the working conditions for the employees at the factory, focusing specifically on Apple.